With a new Pelikan demonstrator due out in a few weeks, I thought now might be a good time to revisit how to best clean one. The endearing thing about demonstrators is that they put the inner workings of the pen on display, warts and all. Perhaps that is why the demonstrator is such a polarizing model amongst fountain pen enthusiast. No matter what side of the debate you come down on, it’s undeniable that cleaning this type of pen can be a real challenge. You can see every drop of residual ink and even more disturbing, every stain left behind. Thankfully, good pen upkeep can help to avoid this type of permanent staining. In addition to the usual pen maintenance issues that we all face, there is one exceedingly frustrating area on Pelikan demos that is particularly troublesome to clean. That area would be the section which, no matter how much you may rinse or swab, simply won’t come clean. With Pelikan’s demos, there is a little trick to be learned here which can make your cleaning woes a thing of the past. Due to the design, there is a little lip on the inside of the section where the threads are located. The area behind that lip will collect ink as you fill and use your pen. It is not readily noticeable until you try to flush the pen clean. Thankfully, it’s easy to remedy if you know what to do. Read on to learn how to get that residual ink flushed out of the section.
I have been asked on a few occasions over the past several weeks about what is the best way to clean a Pelikan fountain pen. While I’m not sure whether or not my way is the best way, it does work, is easy and relatively quick to accomplish, and does not result in any damage to the pen. One of the reasons that I enjoy Pelikan’s piston fillers is because of the ease with which they can be cleaned when compared with cartridge/converter models. Pelikans are also forgiving and can be left to go a bit longer between routine maintenance sessions than some other brands pens. While cleaning is easy, there are some pitfalls and special considerations to keep in mind, particularly when working with vintage pens. As such, I have two cleaning methods; one that I reserve for modern pens (1970-present) and one that I use for either modern or vintage pens (pre-1970). I will do my best to describe both procedures below as well as provide you with some of my views on the intricacies of Pelikan pen maintenance. As a bonus, I will also review a technique for the cleaning of a cartridge/converter pen.